Not Quite the Magic Schoolbus

Sorry for not posting as usual this weekend – I decided to take a break and spend as much of it with my family as I could, rather than worrying about blogging. 🙂

Anyway.  So, I wrote last week about our disaster with bussing (see I Aim to Misbehave) on Tuesday afternoon.  I was very happy, as I wrote, with the school system’s response to the issue and how they took me seriously when I complained about it.

We had a repeat on Friday.

Well, that’s unfair of me to say, to be honest.  It wasn’t quite a repeat – this time, the bus was late (45 minutes or so) rather than leaving early.

The whole story is this: Around 3:50, the Monster’s teacher called my wife to let her know that the bus hadn’t arrived, and that he was being taken to the central holding area for kids whose busses hadn’t arrived.  And further, that they were trying to put a sticker on his back with his bus number on it (good luck with that).  Around 4:35, our phone rang at the house, with the principal, calling us to let us know that his bus had finally arrived and he was put on it… and that she’d tried to reach me at the office right before it arrived to see if I’d want to come pick him up.  Since I’d already been sent home from work early due to the holiday, I hadn’t been there to get the call, but it’s nice to see that the system we arranged is working.

By 5:30, the bus still hadn’t arrived at our house.  Furious, which was putting my mood lightly, I scribbled off an email to the CEO of the public schools to the effect of how angry I was at the performance of the bussing, that I recognized that it isn’t the schools’ fault in particular since the bus company is a contractor, but wanting to know what they intend to do about the matter.

The Monster arrived home around 5:45, soaked again.  I’ll confess that I didn’t hide my anger well from the bus driver or the aide, though if pressed, I’ll also admit that I made no attempt to hide it.  They’re beneath my contempt.

Around 7 or so, our phone rang at the house.  It was the director of transportation from the city schools, wanting to know what happened.  It turns out that the CEO of schools DOES actually read all of his email, and forwarded the message to the head of transportation wanting to get to the bottom of this.  It was a very pleasant conversation, but one in which they did agree that this contractor (Durham School Services) is clearly failing to meet their obligations, and that they’re going to find out this week what is going on.  Dropping off a child significantly late 2 days out of 5 at home, and being late TO the school at least once during that week is unacceptable.

But you all know me.  You know I’m neither shy nor passive.  Letting someone else handle this has never been my style.

So I followed the bus this morning.

According to Google Maps, the fastest route between the house and school should take 23 minutes, so we’ll say 30 or so, allowing for the stop we know is between us and the school.  The bus arrived at our house at 8:10 this morning, and I made no secret that I was going to follow them – we put the Monster on the bus, and then I crossed the street while the red flashing lights were still on to get in my car that was already pointed out-bound and turned it on, pulling straight in behind them.

It took 35ish minutes door-to-door this morning to get to the school.  This included the bus running through several yellow lights as if trying to lose me, but I’m just probably being angry already and giving them credit for things that they probably don’t have the intelligence to do (more that the driver’s just not being careful).  I don’t see any reason why it should have taken so long to get back on ANY school day, given the route they take.

So I’m waiting now to find out what the school board thinks and does…

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